A trip that I will remember forever and had enormous impact on me was my trip to China in 2008. It was my first international trip without my family or friends from back home and really inspired my future travels and helped me reconnect back to the country I was born in and one of the many places in the world that I call home. I went on a three week trip throughout China and Inner Mongolia with four other Chinese Adoptees, a guide and a driver doing various activities…mostly having fun and exploring the country we were all born in. It was such an amazing trip and I feel so lucky that my mom trusted the universe enough to send me out there and let me learn from experience independently! Adoption is so special and I found some forever friends on this trip and cannot wait to go back! Hopefully ASAP!
Part One: Welcome to Beijing
I flew from Denver to San Francisco with my Mom and then took the long journey all the way to Beijing by myself! It was quite the beginning of an expedition for a thirteen year old girl. I met up with the other four girls, settled into our hotel, met our guide and driver and we pretty much instantly all become great friends. We had never met before, but all were adopted from China around the same time and got along famously from the start. The second day after fighting the jet lag, we took off from the Great Wall! I had been there several years ago with my mom, but the wall is endless and we got to see a different part.
We had a great time exploring Beijing, visiting the outdoor parks, art museums, rock climbing and eating the greatest food ever! Chinese food is hands down the most amazing food. Street food, fancy food…anything you name and it is absolutely incredible!
Part Two: Volunteering
A highlight of the trip was being able to volunteer in a special needs orphanage where we built ramps for the children who need wheel chairs and spent a few days planning the project, executing it and hanging out with some pretty adorable kids waiting to go to their forever families! I have always stayed in touch with my orphanage and caretakers and can’t wait to go back and see all the wonderful things that have happened. We also got to visit the Hutongs and see a home for handicapped adults where they help them live sustainable, independent lives by teaching them craft skills and basic everyday tools to live.
Beijing is such an amazing city and we were there right before the Olympic games started! The excitement in the air was palpable. As was the pollution. We made our way around the markets bargaining our butts off, walked around Tiennamen Square and then Forbidden City, participated in a traditional Chinese photo shoot and ate until our stomachs couldn’t handle any more food! Amazing.
Part Three: Innger Mongolia
Other than traveling with four of the most wonderful girls that I share a deep bond with, my second favourite part of the trip was when we ended our amazing journey in Inner Mongolia. We took an overnight train from Beijing to Inner Mongolia and drove out into the middle of the fields. It was absolutely gorgeous. We were welcomed at our yurt village with as massive celebration where they gave us their own version of homemade vodka. I did not appreciate it at age thirteen..acquired taste from our hosts to say the least! We learned how to build a yurt, rode camels in the Gobi Dessert, at cow intestine soup amount other things and had a blast learning about life in Inner Mongolia.
I feel so blessed to have been able to go on this trip and have a family that made it a point for me to always stay connected to my roots from a young age.
I can’t wait to go back to China. Not only is it a deep part of who I am, but it is an overall amazing country with endless places and possibilities to explore. The food doesn’t taste too bad either!